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Book History Teaching Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 18 Sep 2019

Biographical History

The history of the book began with the development of writing. Tablets, scrolls, and sheets of papyrus are early precursors of books, which has evolved to the modern-day business of book printing. Books as we understand them today began with bookbinding. Bookbinding is the process of physically assembling a book of codex format from an ordered stack of paper sheets. The codex form was developed around the first century AD by the Romans, superseding earlier formats such as the scroll, tablet, or concertina. A codex consists of folded written sheets ("quires") attached along one edge, and protected by some type of cover. At first quires were attached using a variety of sewing techniques; modern methods also include gluing, stapling, spiral binding and plastic comb binding. Before the widespread availability of paper, books were usually written on papyrus, vellum or parchment. Covers were originally of leather or wood (hence the term "boards" for a rigid cover) and were sometimes elaborately decorated with gold, silver, paint, and gems; modern book covers are typically of cardboard, fiberboard, or heavy glossy paper. The quality of book's paper and binding directly affect its cost; limited and special editions may have particularly ornate or unusual bindings.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Book History Teaching Collection contains a papyrus codex facsimile and models for instruction on the history and techniques of book production. The Facsimile series contains a facsimile, transcription, and translation of the letters of St. Peter. More information of the reproduction is provided in the inventory. The Models consists of 12 models of bookbinding. More information of the models is provided in the inventory.

Arrangement of the Collection

No particular order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Biblio Tech.


Church history--Primitive and early church, ca. 30-600.
Bookbinding -- History.
Bookbinding -- Specimens.
Bookbinding -- Study and teaching.

Genres and Forms

Facsimiles (reproductions)
Models (representations)

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Book History Teaching Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2019-2020.

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